Security chiefs last night threw a ring of steel around every airport serving America – amid growing fears of a new al-Qaeda onslaught.
And experts warn all US-bound passengers could face full body searches in a bid to thwart future bomb outrages.
Body-searches have already been introduced at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport following a plea from American officials.
Judith Sluiter, a spokeswoman for the Dutch National Co-ordinator for Counter-terrorism, said: “The extra measures apply on all flights to the US for an indefinite period.”
Schiphol is one of Europe’s busiest airports with a heavy load of transit passengers from Africa and Asia to North America.
It strictly enforces EU security rules that only allow small amounts of liquid in hand-luggage if it is in a clear plastic container.
Scanners Bosses at Schiphol have spent the past year testing full-body scanners that allow security staff to see the outline of a passenger’s body beneath their clothes.
But it was unclear whether the scanners would have spotted the device allegedly used by Mutallab.
Meanwhile, Air Canada has announced they are banning passengers from leaving their seats during the last hour of all their flights.
The ban includes reaching up to get a bag from an overhead luggage locker or having any item on their lap.
And a spokesman for the British Airports Authority has warned passengers travelling to the US to expect delays because of extra security checks by airlines.
Earlier Patrick Mercer, chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism, warned al-Qaeda bomb-makers would always try to keep one step ahead of any new crackdown.
He said: “As security evolves, so does terrorism – and now security is going to have to take another twist in order to account for these new devices.
“Scanning will have to be looked at more carefully and used more extensively.”
He added: “The only way round this is by using sniffer dogs around every person or by implementing scanners at every airport.
“It will be very expensive but we can only benefit in the long run.”
27 December 2009